Two hundred ciders consumed and reviewed. Done:-)
It is starting to look a bit like an encyclopedia of cider though. I guess the question is how can I start to make this information more useful!? Well, as a celebration of 200 reviewed ciders, I figured I would share one of the tools that I maintain; my spreadsheet of scores.
Feel free to download, re-filter and have a play. My conviction is that discovering cider - really good cider - is a journey and not a sprint. You don't go from preferring Magners to Naish's Dry Cider overnight. So, find 'your' cider - the one you currently have in your hand (if its not on there yet, let me know:-) and filter the spreadsheet to discover something similar...Its totally free (although all rights to it are still mine... for those who think a book on this kind of thing would 'sell'!)
Where can you find it? Well, the observant will notice that there is a new page on Cider Pages. That's where you can find it. Simples!
So, in essence this is a summary of my scoring for all the ciders - presented as a single list of ciders and the scores which can be sorted by sweetness, award etc. My hope is that this can be used and (if excel is working properly) sorted into an order that suits the user.
The other truth about this list is simply that it is what I carry on my phone to look at when shopping around for cider. Mobile internet is a lovely thing, but until they can make it both cheaper and faster it is a bit of a pain (and, lets be honest, the signal in the Bristol Cider Shop is pretty awful:-)
Thoughts on blogging/internet
Cider on the internet is a funny old thing. Watching it closely the noise seems to be increasing. This is good (as traditional cider makers find their voice in this relatively new medium) and also bad (there are a few nuts - those who like the sound of their own voices/think they have something interesting to say on any cider related topic). A good (meaning bad) example of this is the subject of 'Cider' within Wikipedia. Try changing something and watch as the Wikipedia Cider Police change it back to their version of cider!
Where do I place myself in this? Well, I hope I do things as gently as possible whilst making reasonably thoughtful use of the media available. Less is so often more - not a bad lesson to learn in the 'new' age of internet media and communication.
There is not one person who should regard themselves as the guardian of real cider. Anyone who does is kidding themselves. That is not to say that there are no excellent resources out there: For example, if you want to know about making cider then the place to go has to be the Wittenham Hill Cider Portal, put together by cider scientist Andrew Lea (he can also be found by visiting the Cider Workshop Google forum.
If you want to talk about cider then, again, to me its fairly clear that currently you have two choices; The Cider Workshop or The Cider Digest (if you hail from the USA predominantly... both are excellent choices). There are others - but these are where I would go.
Then are others who deal with the more social side of cider and there are lists of cider selling outlets (the one I will suggest here is Old Scrumps Cider House, but there are others - of varying degrees of accuracy). Lets face it, I am not the only one reviewing cider on the web either, though readers will be the to judges as to which ones are worthwhile...
Anyway, enough of this internet commentary. Its a useful tool but I do wish people would sometimes cope with it better.
The list will grow and be republished occasionally... maybe every 50 ciders or so depending on my other commitments. Any thoughts and comments about it.... please do say something.
Here's to the next 200 ciders then:-)